Policy Updates

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Donor Tracker to host webinar on climate finance and role of ODA

Join the Donor Tracker this Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), for a webinar addressing the pressing need for international climate finance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In 2015, the latest in a series of global climate change agreements was signed in Paris. The Paris Agreement includes a pledge made by donor countries to mobilize US$100 billion a year by 2020 for climate action in LMICs. This upcoming Donor Tracker webinar will examine the role that ODA can and should play in funding for climate action, including the US$100 billion target. It will include an overview of trends in ODA-related climate funding and policies by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) donors.

This webinar, and our recently published report on climate finance and ODA, complements the recent addition of ‘Climate’ as a sector of analysis across the Donor Tracker Donor Profiles. Climate was added this year in recognition of the importance of climate action to the future of global development efforts.

Registration - Zoom

South Korea’s finance ministry to provide US$5 million for digital infrastructure and green growth projects

South Korea's Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) announced that it will provide US$5 million to support digital infrastructure and green growth projects in the context of COVID-19 in six partner countries. Supported partner countries include Vietnam, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Haiti, and Uganda.

The funding will come from the Korea World Bank Group Partnership Facility and the Korea-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Partnership Program. MOEF plans to continue to fund new digital new deal ODA projects that utilize information and communication technology as well as green technology projects.

News article – KBS World

South Korea contributes US$5 million to Indonesian COVID-19 response

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it will provide US$5 million (KRW6 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) to support Indonesia’s comprehensive response to COVID-19.

The funds will be used to meet Indonesia's requests including medicine and quarantine support, capacity building of medical staff, and support for the Red Cross. KOICA will also set up drive-through testing facilities and offer medical and analytical equipment.

Indonesia is a priority partner country of South Korea’s ODA and partner country of South Korea’s New Southern Policy.

News article – Yonhap News (in Korean)

South Korea’s Unification Minister emphasizes need for humanitarian assistance to North Korea

Newly appointed South Korean Minister of Unification and former four-term National Assembly Member Lee In-Young has convened the top officials of the Ministry of Unification to highlight the need for providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea.

As one of his first acts since being appointed on July 27, 2020, Minister Lee urged that South Korea should provide humanitarian assistance for food, health, and medicine to North Korea without hesitation, particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis. He emphasized that he plans to play an active role on the issue and also asked that the ministry staff play a more active role and propose concrete plans and ideas on the matter

News article – Seoul Daily (in Korean)

Donor Tracker to host webinar on gender equality and donor finance for women's economic empowerment

Join Donor Tracker this Friday, July 24 from 15:00-16:00 (CEST) for a webinar exploring donor financing for women’s economic empowerment, featuring analysis from the Donor Tracker team and our partner, the ONE Campaign.

Gender equality, including women's financial inclusion and economic empowerment, has gained increasing attention from the international donor community in recent years; but to what extent can donors' rhetorical commitment to the issue be seen reflected in data on donors' financing for women's economic empowerment? In this Donor Tracker webinar, Kalila Jaeger and Isabela Vera from the Donor Tracker and Ebba Henningsson from ONE will guide participants through an introduction to the OECD’s gender equality policy marker, discuss the current state of donor finance for gender-related development programming, and explore trends in donor countries' spending on economic empowerment initiatives for women.

Registration - Zoom

South Korea contributes US$1 million to ASEAN COVID-19 response fund

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will provide US$1 million to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) COVID-19 Respond Fund.

The pledge was announced by Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Kim Gunn at the senior officials’ meeting of the ASEAN plus 3, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN regional forum on July 20-21, 2020. During the meeting, the participants also discussed the importance of achieving economic recovery post-COVID-19 and the necessary actions to support such recovery. Deputy Minister Kim also stressed the need to prepare for the establishment of norms to promote and institutionalize cooperation infectious disease as learned from the COVID-19 experience.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korea partners with NGOs to provide US$2 million in humanitarian assistance to world's most marginalized

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced a partnership with the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC) and 10 development NGOs to implement 10 humanitarian assistance projects worth US$2 million (KRW2.2 billion) in seven partner countries.

According to a KOICA press release, the support will mainly target the most vulnerable populations in partner countries (including refugees and host communities, migrants, women, and children) as these groups are less likely to receive social protection support particularly with the spread of COVID-19. These projects will also involve livelihood support programs, supply and management of sanitation and hygiene products and facilities, and awareness raising on infectious diseases.

The partner countries include Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Egypt, Peru, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Press release – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

South Korea’s Health and Welfare, Foreign Affairs Ministries strengthen cooperation to help partner countries combat COVID-19

The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the country's international cooperation on global health to strengthen global health security. The two ministries will actively participate in global health governance discussions at the World Health Organization (WHO) and other platforms, institutionalize health security cooperation at the bilateral and regional level, increase official development assistance (ODA) on global health, and support South Korea’s health industry venture overseas.  

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

South Korean government commits US$12 million in humanitarian assistance to 32 partner countries in response to COVID-19

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will commit US$12 million in humanitarian assistance to 32 partner countries in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Out of the 32 countries, 18 will be for partner countries in Latin America and the humanitarian aid will be provided via the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). MOFA will provide additional assistance to 21 out of 32 partner countries (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq) to fight COVID-19.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korean Parliament and Presidential Committee discuss evolving role of South Korean ODA during COVID-19 pandemic

The Presidential Committee on the New Southern Policy (NSP) organized a conference on the policy direction of the NSP in the health and medical sector. NSP is President Moon Jae-in’s foreign policy that mainly targets the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and India. Chairman Park Jin-kyu of the committee stated that the NSP will focus on health and medicine, with a special emphasis on COVID-19 response. Park also stated that supporting the infectious disease response system and improving health and medicine standards in NSP partner countries will be instrumental in enhancing the global health security of the partner countries as well as that of South Korea. As part of the NSP, South Korea will actively pursue health and medicine as core sectors of its ODA and build a better cooperation network with the private sector.

National Assembly Member Jun Hyesook also organized a forum on the rise of infectious diseases and the direction of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)’s health ODA. Assembly Member Jun also heads the forum on global health and welfare at the national assembly. National Assembly member and former Prime Minister Lee Nakyon as well as KOICA President Lee Mikyung joined the forum. Prime Minister Lee remarked on the need to consider the role and strength of South Korea’s ODA and its contribution to partner countries. KOICA president Lee stated that South Korea’s policies on the digital new deal and the clean new deal can also be applied to all countries in the post-COVID-19 era, and that South Korea should incorporate what it does well into its ODA in the post-COVID-19 era. She also remarked that KOICA will further sophisticate its ODA projects in the health and medicine sector to contribute to partner countries’ development in various sectors.

News article – Korea Pharmaceutical Association News (in Korean)

News article – NewsPim (in Korean)

International leaders urge global community to guarantee equal access to COVID-19 vaccines

Leaders of Canada, Ethiopia, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Tunisia published an opinion piece on the Washington Post to highlight the importance of guaranteeing equal access to COVID-19 vaccines globally.

In the piece, the leaders noted that while COVID-19 has affected every part of the world, it has had a more significant impact on vulnerable groups. The op-ed remarks that the development of COVID-19 vaccines will be crucial for achieving the SDGs, including SDG 3, which focuses on healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages. However, the leaders posit this will require global cooperation on not just resources, but also on the manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines. Also, it will be beneficial for all countries if there is a managed flow of vaccines to partner countries.

The leaders also stressed their support for global initiatives and international organizations to secure COVID-19 vaccines such as the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, the World Health Organisation, Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). Lastly, the leaders urged other global leaders to join the effort of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines based on the spirit of greater freedom for all.

Op-ed – The Washington Post

South Korea provides US$5 million to Colombia for COVID-19 response

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) of South Korea has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Colombian Ministry of Health and the City of Bogota to implement an emergency support program for comprehensive COVID-19 response in Colombia.

Selected as one of South Korea’s four priority partner countries on disease control along with Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Ethiopia, Colombia will receive US$5 million through this project. According to a KOICA press release, the project will include set-up and management of drive-through and walk-through screening clinics, expansion of intensive care unit (ICU) equipment and facilities for COVID-19 patients, capacity building of medical personnel and provision of relevant consultations, and a protection program to prevent infection of COVID-19 response personnel. In addition to the items mentioned above, South Korea will also share its operating models and experiences that can support the sustainability and practicality of the project.

Press release – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

South Korea appoints medical experts as global health security ambassadors

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced the appointment of two professors from the Seoul National University’s College of Medicine as ambassadors-at-large on global health security.

According to MOFA, Professors Oh Myoung Don and Lee Jong-koo will carry out their role as ambassadors by participating in discussions on global health security during the COVID-19 pandemic and by sharing South Korea’s experience with COVID-19 response globally while utilizing their expertise and experience in their respective fields.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

South Korea's Committee for International Development Cooperation proposes increases to ODA budget, COVID-19 response

South Korea's Committee for International Development Cooperation (CIDC) has requested an increase in the ODA budget to KRW4.1 trillion (US$3.4 billion), which would represent an additional KRW652 billion (US$540 million) and 19% over the 2020 budget.

The request was made during a CIDC meeting chaired by Prime Minister of South Korea Moon Jae-in to deliberate the 2021 ODA budget. The requested budget includes an increase of bilateral aid by KRW574 billion (US$475 million) and multilateral aid by KRW78 billion (US$63 million) compared to the 2020 budget. Asia remains the top priority region, with 37% of total ODA allocated. The health sector would be the second-largest sector, receiving 11% of total bilateral ODA after transportation (14%) and before education (10%).

CIDC also unveiled during the meeting the 'COVID-19 Response ODA Strategy' to help the global community and partner countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This strategy includes the following:

  • An increase of health ODA by 34% or KRW94 billion (US$76 million) in 2020
  • An increase of humanitarian assistance to women, refugees, the poor and other vulnerable groups by 52% or KRW87 billion (US$71 million) in 2020
  • Tailoring South Korea's experience with COVID-19 response into individual partner country-specific strategies
  • Incorporating ICT and environment-friendly approaches into relevant ODA
  • Securing fast-track ODA budgets for any urgent/emergency needs
  • Utilization of global health security solidarity groups led by South Korea at the UN, WHO, and UNESCO

Since this is the government’s requested budget, the final 2021 ODA budget will only be confirmed late this year after it has been reviewed and deliberated by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and subsequently by the National Assembly.

Press release – Office of Prime Minister (in Korean)

South Korea provides US$4 million to strengthen food security through WFP and FAO

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will provide US$4 million in humanitarian assistance to tackle food insecurity in its partner countries across the Asian and African region through the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

According to FAO, over 25 million people in East Africa alone are facing a food crisis with 11 million people among them directly affected by desert locusts. The current support is in addition to the US$0.2 million provided to Pakistan in March 2020 for desert locust response.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

South Korea’s Foreign Minister consults civilian experts on global health cooperation

South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha held a meeting on July 3, 2020 with civilian experts focusing on South Korea’s international development cooperation strategy in the COVID-19 era, with a special emphasis on its global health cooperation.

Consisting of experts from development cooperation, global health, public administration, and public health from academia and civil society organizations, the civilian experts emphasized the following:

  • Preparing a whole-of-government and comprehensive masterplan for a longer-term response, particularly with COVID-19 expecting to persist over the mid- to long-term;
  • setting up a regional platform that takes into account partner countries’ different context and circumstances for COVID-19 response, rather than simply conveying South Korea’s experience;
  • actively pursuing the implementation of the SDGs in COVID-19 pandemic;
  • promoting the more constructive role of South Korea to improve global health governance;
  • and acknowledging the importance of open communication with the general public domestically.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

South Korea passes third COVID-19 supplementary budget, including increase of COVID-19 R&D budget

South Korea’s national assembly passed its third supplementary budget this year to fight COVID-19, amounting to KRW35.1 trillion (US$28.7 billion). Although the third extra budget mainly targets economic stabilization and job creation in South Korea, it also included additional budget of KRW0.2 trillion (US$163 million) allocated to research and development (R&D) and export of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. In particular, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be provided KRW45 billion (US$37 million) for COVID-19 therapeutics R&D and KRW49 billion (US$40 million) for COVID-19 vaccine R&D.

News article – The Korea Herald

Press release – Ministry of Economy and Finance (in Korean)

South Korea commits US$13 million to support Syrian refugees and migrants

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will commit US$13 million this year to support refugees and migrants in Syria and neighboring countries.

Announced at the Fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region co-organized by the EU and the UN, the participants shared deep concern on the continued humanitarian crisis in the country, which has been further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference successfully mobilized assistance of US$5.5 billion for this year alone and multi-year commitment for around US$2.2 billion for 2021 and beyond.

Speaking at the conference, South Korean Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs Ham Sang-wook underscored the importance of a "Syrian-owned and Syrian-led peace process", and affirmed South Korea's support through both the current financial contribution and continued development cooperation projects within the region.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korea’s development agency contributes US$6 million to improve nutrition in Madagascar

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has announced US$6 million via the World Food Programme (WFP) to address malnutrition in Madagascar for a five-year period, from 2020 to 2024.

KOICA's funding will be used to improve maternal and children’s nutritional health, establish a collective farm, provide lunch at schools, and more. According to the Korean Government, over 51,000 people are expected to benefit from this project.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

Donor Tracker to host webinar on donors’ international COVID-19 response following Global Goal Summit pledges

On July 2, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), Donor Tracker will host a second webinar on donor countries’ international COVID-19 responses following the Global Goal Summit. The Summit, held on June 27, raised US$6.9 billion for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

The Donor Tracker's expert team will analyze the Summit's outcomes and discuss implications for donor countries’ further international responses to the pandemic.

Registration - Zoom